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Rule of Tree staff predictions: Colorado Buffaloes at Stanford Cardinal

We asked the writers their thoughts on the upcoming Stanford football game against Colorado

NCAA Football: Stanford at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Nerdnation23: Stanford and Colorado tie.... hey it's the PAC-12 where anything can happen! Is Stanford just an average team or a good team that just got outplayed by two better teams? Is Colorado overrated or are they really the team of South destiny? This has the makings of a low-scoring affair and Stanford finds a way to win during homecoming 24-21.

Courtland Nickelberry: Stanford has to run the ball effectively to create more opportunities in the passing game. Colorado has a very experienced secondary. I believe David Shaw is one of the best play callers in college football; I pick Stanford 26-23.

John Loop: My prediction this week is based on one simple strain of logic: Maybe a little more of Bryce Love isn't such a bad idea? Still, the Cardinal will have to hunker down to halt a relentless Colorado rushing effort led by Phillip Lindsay and continue to get creative on the offensive end to have a chance at this one. Stanford keeps it close while giving its alumni a good show on Saturday afternoon. Cardinal prevail 31-24.

Matt Levin: Defensively, Stanford looks a lot better than they did earlier in the year. The secondary is finally getting healthy and the pass rush is looking good. Look for a strong defensive display from Stanford, as well as Solomon Thomas who will be an unrelenting force against Colorado's o-line. However, The key for Stanford is their offensive line. If they can create holes for either McCaffrey or Love, the running game will be unstoppable. Pass protection is even more important in order to give Burns lots of time to throw the ball against the tough Colorado secondary. Look for a strong offensive line performance as well. Stanford wins in a close one, 18-14.

Nick Dempsey: Colorado has elite wide receivers and a quarterback who can move the ball with his feet. The Stanford secondary will have to once again play lights out against the Buffs while Thomas and the rest of the front get excellent pressure on the Buffs’ QB. Stanford cannot contain Liufau, however, because he can pick up first downs with his legs. This is going to require the Stanford linebackers to step up and play well, something we have not really seen all season. Containing the powerful Notre Dame offense to just 10 points in South Bend, however, is wildly encouraging. If the Stanford defense can keep playing that well Stanford has a chance to stick around in games.

Stanford’s offense though is practically non existent at this point. Texas, Nevada, Michigan St., Duke, Syracuse, and NC State in a hurricane all scored more offensive points against Notre Dame than Stanford did. Those teams have a combined record of 18-21. Let all of that sink in for a moment. The Stanford defense scored more points than the Stanford offense did against one of the worst defenses in the country. The offense is going to need to show some signs of life against Colorado because I’m not sure the defense can keep doing it all. Colorado wins 21- 13. Keep in mind though, every time I’ve picked against Stanford they’ve proven me wildly incorrect.

CMolesky The defense has improved and the help Meeks brings is huge. But Colorado's offense is a fast-paced scoring machine. And now senior quarterback Sefo Liufau is back after ankle injury. I think if he could have stayed in the game against Michigan they might have won that matchup and he will probably be enough to help win this one. I think this is another game where we see the Cardinal don't have enough offense. Colorado 28-20.

Charlie Foy Stanford vs Colorado should be a tight matchup on Saturday. Colorado is good, but after losses to USC and Michigan, they haven't proven themselves in a big game. Following last week's win, I think Stanford has found some momentum on offense and are stellar on defense right now. Stanford wins 24-17.

Tony Fernandes: Colorado is no longer the bottom feeders of the PAC 12 south in 2016. Sefo Liufau and Steven Montez have both played well at the QB position, and the Buffs WR corps could be considered the best in the PAC 12 south. That being said, the Buffs defense is still a work in progress, and when they face a team with a solid CB corp, they have struggled. Stanford should have more hands on deck this week than in prior weeks, and will look to make a statement on reunion weekend. Look for the Cardinal to control the clock, bend-but don't break on defense, and send the alumni base home happy with a 27-17 victory.

Matt Vassar: This is Stanford’s last big test of the regular season. It’s also the game that will set the tone for the rest of Stanford’s season. Colorado has a very potent offense, but USC proved that a strong defense can limit them to just 17 points. With Stanford’s defensive line keeping constant pressure on the quarterback, and Quenton Meeks and Frank Buncom providing solid coverage in the secondary, I see Stanford’s defense doing just enough to keep the offense in the game. It’s a nail-biter, and it’s going to be very close, but I’m taking Stanford, 24-23.

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